In my research, I am interested on deriving a [very] detailed vegetation and elevation maps, for this purpose I considered the use of drones (UAV). I do not mean to develop a drone but to acquire a commercial one. My study area is located on the Andes (about 4200 m.a.s.l) and a few years ago we had lifting problems with a prototype (when drones were not that popular), since the air seemed to be thinner than the drone's requirement.

Based on previous expertise or researches could you recommend a drone series/model/brand capable to achieve this task on this environment?

My main field of expertise is not UAVs.

closed as too broad by PolyGeo Dec 11 '18 at 8:10

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Sorry this isn't a direct answer, I don't have a recommendation. Here's an article that does speak to this:Drone Enthusiast article
But rather a warning to try to find as powerful a drone as possible. Depending on the size of your survey (0.6 km2?) you may want to go with a fixed-wing drone. As you saw with your prototype the very high elevation is going to have a major effect on your drone's performance. Other factors such as high temperatures or winds can also make flying even more troublesome/shorter flight-time per battery. When you do ultimately find your drone I would encourage you to consider buying lots of extra batteries due to the fact that the drone is going to be burning through them at a much faster rate than what (presumably) the software/hardware was designed for. Once you get your equipment you will probably want to gauge each battery's performance: fly each battery to see how long it'll power your drone at altitude and be ready for some short missions where the drone may need to land very quickly (read, don't fly anywhere you can't easily retrieve it). You can completely ignore the manufacturer's published materials in terms of flight times as calibration and testing conditions were most likely at sea level. Best of luck.

  • I appreciate your information, indeed the problems you mention are frequent and also most of the specs are for 'standard' conditions at sea level proximities, at this height aside from the thin air, also low temperatures are common and relatively high wind speeds. I considered the fixed-wing option, however I cannot find enough information to justify either this option or the x-copter one. – Marlon Calispa Apr 19 '18 at 14:48

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